A thick blanket of fog covered Georgetown on the morning of June 23. It brought back vivid memories of my days in the control tower at Timehri International Airport where this was almost a daily occurrence.
As my daily routine begins with a 5-mile run, part of which is on the seawall, I knew that the experience will be different from all others.
To set the stage, there have been recent reports of people being robbed on the seawall, and calls for joggers to be careful when out there.
Added to this, I had the experience of being approached by a man on a cycle just one month prior demanding that I hand over my earphone and cellphone. Despite him being armed with a machete, I stood my ground and refused to hand over my property. He eventually rode off in defeat uttering the words "I will spare you today."
With that fresh experience in my mind, all my senses were on guard looking for anyone with nefarious intent. The fog formed the perfect cover from which to make a surprise attack on an unsuspecting person.
In my judgement, the visibility was no more than 100 meters and all that you can see at that distance is the silhouette of person. As the distance begins to close in, you can see a little more details and sometimes an object in the hand of the oncoming person.
The first group of people that I passed included two women and a man who could pass for a modern-day Goliath. They were clearly tourists or expat workers who were forewarned about the dangers of being on the seawall at the crack of dawn.
Goliath was carrying what seems like a pole-vaulting pole that was cut in half. I quickly concluded that it was intended to connect with the skull of anyone who attempted to do anything that was perceived as an attack. I smiled and carried on.
According to Martin Luther King, Jr., faith is taking the first step even when you don't see the whole staircase. Although I was approaching Camp Street but couldn't quite see it, I had faith that the Police Headquarters was not secretly moved over-night and will soon come into view. The thought that policemen would be awakening from their slumber was enough to abate any shred of fear that I may have had.
I continued my brisk run when I noticed another silhouette emerging from the fog, this time appearing to be Mahatma Gandhi. Another man, another stick, but he was carrying a few more pounds than the famous Indian icon. As we got closer, I recognized him as a regular morning jogger, but it was the first time that I observed him with rudimentary weaponry.
The Gandhi look-alike must have also recognized me, so he ditched his stick. Another smile, a friendly nod and I pressed on. Apparently, neither of us were threats to each other.
At Camp Street, Pegasus Hotel finally came into view but I turned left to continue my workout in the National Park where it is relatively safer. By the time I entered the park, 30 minutes had elapsed since leaving home, and the MayMyRun app showed that I had clocked 2.6 miles. I must have slowed my pace.
The sun was beginning to pierce through the fog causing it to slowly dissipate. Now being able to see for a greater distance, it appeared as though I was the only warm blooded being in the park. Eventually a few others were spotted, but it was clear that only a small fraction of the usual joggers were interested in sweating-out that morning.
Was a memo issued for joggers to take a day-off, just a coincidence, or people are in fear of what might be lurking in the fog?
Anecdotally, what came out of the fog for me was the desire to press on despite not knowing what was in my path beyond 100 meters. I woke up with the desire to run 5 miles. I placed one foot in front of the other, and one hour later, the mission was completed.
I must admit that there are times when I don't feel like moving a muscle, but then Confucius would whisper in my ear that "a journey of a thousand miles begins with a single step," and off I go.
We often don't know what obstacles may be in our path, but we have the power to choose what action to take. It is a good time to be reminded that the 1% of people who succeed are those who do what the other 99% are not willing to do.
I still have work to do. Of the 264,965 people who signed up for the Under Armour 2021 challenge, I only fall within the top 2%.
Fog or no fog, set your goals and keep on keeping on.